Monique McDonell guest post

06/30/2015 09:32


Congrats to my author friend 

Monique McDonell

on the release of ANY WAY YOU DREAM IT!


Monique is celebrating the launch of her new book with a guest post about choosing character names and traits.

Take it away, Monique!


What’s in a name?

I’ve never understood how someone can have a baby, bring it home from the hospital and two weeks later not have named it. Names are such an integral part of us and they shape who we are and how we’re treated so much. When it comes to naming characters I think the same thing is true.

I find naming characters really fun. (In real life I’m pretty conservative where names are concerned. I have a surname with wacky spelling and I’m well aware going through your life repeating your name and its spelling over and over gets very old, very quickly.)

Until the last fifteen years or so most people did have pretty standard names. In western culture they had Biblical names – hello, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John - or family names  - all the women in our family are called Elizabeth- or sometimes popular names – welcome to Kindergarten in 1974 where everyone in the class is called Emma, Rebecca, Sarah, Catherine or Jennifer.

I’m really aware of that when naming my characters. Most people from regular suburban families aged twenty five or over have regular stock standard names. And that’s the ages of most of my characters.

Still you want to have some fun with it. In Any Way You Dream It my characters are called Lucy and Chase. Chase comes from an established family and his is a family name.  She teases him about his name quite a bit.

In the first book in the series the main character is Piper. I called her that because she’s an Australian living in America and I like the way her name sounds depending who says it. In America you would pronounce it Pie-purr and here in Australia we say Pie-pah. So I liked that because I think it adds to her fish-out –of- water quality when even her name changes depending on her location. I have a character called Ophelia in that book, who is not so nice, I think the name gives her a bit of a snooty air and she is that kind of character (although I personally love that name).

I sometimes ask my fans on my Facebook author page for suggestions. I started writing a series with Irish characters and that is still my most commented on post on Facebook. So many wonderful suggestions. I recently asked for suggestions to name characters in Book 6 in the Upper Crust Series.

Names and appearance help govern my characters personality traits. I do try and give all my characters a hobby or an interest because I think that shows you a lot about them. Sometimes the hobby confirms your preconception for example you might see someone who jumps out of planes and know they’re a dare-devil, but I also like to give them an interest you might not see coming to show the depths of the character that the reader and the other characters might not see unless they go beneath the surface.

I find characters that have a unique turn or phrase and interests more interesting to write and by layering those aspects it helps me get in their heads. I decide what they drink what they eat or don’t eat, if they love high heels or prefer sneakers all before I start writing because it helps me get to know the character from the inside.

Of course traits and names can change. I haven’t done it ye but I plan to write a story with a character who hates their name and changes it by deed-poll. That would be fun to write. It would have to be a bad name or a bad fit. I just can’t quite think of a name to start with.



Monique McDonell will be on tour June 29-July 6 with her novel Any Way You Dream It


Sometimes when life throws you lemons, you create a fake fiancé. That’s exactly what Lucy does when her high school nemesis calls. She didn’t mean to lie. Really, she didn’t. But with nowhere to live and a car that has just decided to die on her, the thought of attending the reunion alone is one she can’t contemplate. Cherie thinks arrogant, wealthy and way too handsome Chase is the answer to her friend’s dilemma and for reasons Lucy can’t fathom, Chase agrees. The man is too good to be true – he fixes her car, takes her to stay at his place – more castle than house – and seems to find her fascinating. Life hasn’t been easy for Lucy and she has a hard time accepting anyone would believe Chase would be with her. Still, he turns out to be the perfect choice and in the month leading up to the reunion makeshimself an indispensable part of her life, which may be the biggest problem of all. Lucy knows life is not a fairy tale – she’s living above her place of work, her sister has run off leaving her with three kids and, when the weekend reunion begins, she has to go back to a town where her greatest humiliations took place. Will her ‘romance’ with Chase be turn out to be the answer to her dreams or will the whole sham turn into just another nightmare? Please visit CLP Blog Tours for all the tour stops!



Author Bio:

I am an Australian author who writes contemporary women's fiction including chick lit and romance. I live on Sydney's Northern Beaches with my husband and daughter, and despite my dog phobia, with a dog called Skip. I have written all my life especially as a child when I loved to write short stories and poetry. At University I studied Creative Writing as part of my Communication degree. Afterwards I was busy working in public relations I didn't write for pleasure for quite a few years although I wrote many media releases, brochures and newsletters. (And I still do in my day-job!) When I began to write again I noticed a trend - writing dark unhappy stories made me unhappy. So I made a decision to write a novel with a happy ending and I have been writing happy stories ever since. I have been a member of the writing group The Writer’s Dozen for eight years. Our anthology Better Than Chocolate raised over $10,000 for the charity Room to Read and helped build a library in South East Asia. I am also a member of the Romance Writers of Australia. I have written five stand-alone romantic comedies and Any Way You Slice It, the first book in her new Upper Crust series.   

To learn more about Monique McDonell and her upcoming books please visit her at 


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